CranioSacral Therapy - CST

Many of you may have heard the term CST, or Cranio Sacral Therapy but are not sure what it is or what it is used for. When I went through medical school I used to get massages to help me stay focused and relaxed from the stress of constantly having to take exams and late night studying until my daughter one day told me about CST. I tried it and fell in love with it! I felt more focused and relaxed and ready to attack my studies and exams after CST compared to having a massage. As I was able to feel the benefits first hand I decided to get trained myself upon graduating from medical school. I’m now trained through the Upledger Institute in both CST and Emotional Release Technique.


CST is a physiological system, which produces and manages the circulation and reabsorption of the cerebrospinal fluid, CSF. This system exists within the Dura Mater (a tough membrane), which envelops the spinal cord and the brain. The continuous process of circulating, producing and reabsorbing the CSF within the Dura Mater causes rises and falls in the fluid pressure. When I put my hands on your body during a CST session your body feels like a flower under water that is opening and closing with the waves, these are the fluctuations of the pressure changes within your body. Your body has anywhere from 6-12 cycles/min of flexion and extension. If your body is not able to accommodate these pressure changes there is a buildup of pressure within the physiological system, which can contribute to dysfunctions and disease. Wolf’s law states that stress put on a structure over time will change it.


During a CST session the practitioner works from the Cranium (head) to the Sacrum (bottom of your spine), thus the name Cranio Sacral Therapy. The Cranium has many sutures, (“seams”), and these sutures should allow the cranial bone to move freely when light pressure is applied. If there are restrictions present there will be a lack of movement. An Osseous restriction for example feels very rigid and doesn’t move, and Elastic recoil barrier feels elastic, but snaps back when you remove the light pressure, and Viscous compliance is when the sutures move with your light pressure indicating they are now moving freely and are within normal range and functioning. When working on a patient we are feeling for these restrictions and work to release them.


When a patient has TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint problems, the TMJ joint becomes dysfunctional as it is displaced from its position. When you open your mouth the Lateral Pterygoid muscle moves the disc in the joint forward and the disc is kept between the Mandibular Condyle and the Temporal bone. When you later close your mouth, the disc is moved back to its original position by another muscle, but if this is not executed correctly, the disc remains in the forward position causing the Mandible Condyle to slip off the disc causing pressure and damage to the tissue. This vicious cycle continues until problem is corrected. TMJ CST work can also include mouth work where the practitioner works in the mouth of the patient (wearing a glove), to insure all bones are moving correctly and to alleviate any problems.


CST can be a great complement to the body’s natural healing process and as you work from the cranium to the sacrum and there are many different conditions that can be treated. Some of the conditions that are treated with CST are migraines, neck and back pain, concussions and brain injuries (some NFL players have been treated with CST for concussions), chronic fatigue, TMJ, scoliosis, fibromyalgia and many more.

To Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lotte Valentin, please call:

Center for Integrative Medicine 602.888.2320